VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA — Vancouver City Council has approved a policy that requires all new building rezonings to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standard, the highest green building standard for rezonings in North America.
The change takes effect Jan. 31, 2011, and is expected to result in 20 to 30 new green buildings being constructed annually, creating new green job opportunities in the city.
“Setting a new standard like LEED Gold for new building rezonings is a significant step for Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This is another example of the innovative leadership our city’s development and tech sectors are taking to accelerate our job growth and take advantage of global economic opportunities.
“This policy took a lot of work to develop and demonstrates a new collaboration between the City of Vancouver and industry groups such as the Urban Development Institute and Canada Green Building Council,” Robertson said. “We have extensive green building expertise and talent in our city — it’s one of the fastest growing sectors in Vancouver — and we want to help it expand.
“By bringing in a LEED Gold standard, we’ll reduce our GHGs [greenhouse gases], create new job opportunities for our local green building sector, and continue to take a leadership role on urban planning in North America,” Robertson concluded.
The Canada Green Building Council administers the LEED program that applies to Vancouver.
“This decision shows strong commitment by the City of Vancouver to increase the performance and reduce the environmental impacts from new buildings and homes,” said Thomas Mueller, the president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “This policy supports our mission of transforming buildings and communities to meet the highest environmental standards.”
Buildings in Vancouver account for 54% of all GHGs on an annual basis. Currently, the city requires all rezonings to meet LEED Silver or Built Green Gold.
“We applaud the City of Vancouver’s initiative to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world,” said Maureen Enser, executive director of the Urban Development Institute, which represents over 500 companies in the development industry and related professions. “The Green Rezoning Policy is an important step toward that goal. We thank council for the work the city has done to identify solutions to areas of concern for the industry. We believe the policy passed today strikes the right balance.”